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Women and Crime Novel in Spain (1975-2010): Women Writers, Power Figures, Victims and Criminals / MUNCE

Start date
Finish date
FEM 2011-22870
Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad
Programa de Investigación Fundamental no Orientada. Plan Nacional de I+D+i
Research projects
Principal Investigator(s)
Elena Losada Soler
(Centre Dona i Literatura-Universitat de Barcelona)
Research Team
Cristina Alsina Rísquez
(Centre Dona i Literatura-Universitat de Barcelona)
Nora Catelli Quiroga
(Universitat de Barcelona)
Shelley Godsland
(University of Birmingham)
Stewart King
(Monash University)
María Xesús Lama López
(Universitat de Barcelona)
Annalisa Mirizio
(Universitat de Barcelona)
Mari Jose Olaziregi
(Universidad del País Vasco)
Katarzyna Paszkiewicz
(Centre Dona i Literatura-Universitat de Barcelona)


This project aims to analyze the criminal novels written by women in Spain from 1975 to the present. The main objectives are both to elaborate an on-line catalogue-data base with these texts and to analyze these narratives (literary but also filmic) from the perspective of women, and feminist and gender studies.


Special attention will be paid  to the nature of the representations of women who embody power (police women, judges, prosecuting attorneys, etc.), who are victims (with particular interest in the analysis of the nature of the violence used against them) or who are criminals, both in the texts written by women —from the catalogue-data base— and in a selection of texts written by men. The goal is that this analysis will trace the evolution  —cultural, ideological and even linguistic— of the models of femininity and masculinity as used in this genre, which has traditionally stood out for its use of gender stereotypes.


Finally, due to the widespread presence and the importance of the crime story in present-day popular culture, this work will also take into account the Spanish TV series produced in the last few years to find out whether, in said series, the traditional representations of women are reinforced or subverted and what the nature of their evolution is.


  1. Development of a catalogue-database of Spanish women's crime novels of the last 35 years so as to quantify the results of its production. Web-reference page designed in Drupal to optimize automatic online searches. Publication on CD of the information.
  2. Analysis of the texts of the crime novels mentioned above from the methodological perspective of feminist studies, women and gender. The way in which power is represented in the texts will be studied. The representation of female figures in these texts will be compared to a significant corpus of male-authored texts. How these texts represent violence as it relates to women (woman as victim and woman as executioner) will also be analyzed. Female characters in subaltern positions (detective assistants, sub-inspectors, etc.) will be taken into account as well as the evolution of the representation of masculinity that can be observed within this literary genre. The female and male characters' language will be examined as a means of reproducing or subverting gender stereotypes.
  3. Study of the crime novel as a popular culture genre. Analysis of the relationships between society and criminal narratives (literary and filmic texts). Study of the relationships between real and literary crimes through the process of the fictionalization of news reports. Analysis of the representation of diverse cultural identities (nation, ethnicity, etc.) in the criminal novel, and the the incorporation of the narrative codes of the crime novel into filmic language.